Thursday, March 26, 2009

Passion To Evolve Has Moved

Greetings Friends!

Passion to Evolve blog has now evolved to it's own URL!  All future posts will now be available at

We will continue to evolve, and I hope you'll continue to follow along and comment!



Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tweet It Forward

I recently wrote a blog post that got a lot of attention titled Pay it Forward.  The post, inspired by a tv commercial, was very meaningful to me because I truly believe that the simplest of gestures can change someone's life.  The movie that came out years ago was truly an inspiration to so many, and movements were started around the globe.

My original post talks about the random smile to the apparently sad person, or waiting that few extra seconds to hold the door for someone a few steps behind.  Those little gestures can make such a difference in a persons attitude or outlook.  Now I'll apply that same concept to Twitter.

I have become a Twunkie (my new word  for Twitter Junkie)!  What I love so much about Twitter is watching relationships evolve and seeing what other people are doing FOR each other.  You see so many Tweeps - strangers really - helping each other out, with potentially nothing to gain.

Help can come in the form of a ReTweet, a #followfriday shout out, a recommendation, or just providing helpful and meaningful content.  I don't consider myself to be an expert in social media, merely a student just like everyone else, with so much to learn.  I love it when someone asks a question in need of advice and I can contribute.  That makes me feel great!

The vast majority, I would presume, are on Twitter for the purposes of self-promotion and marketing.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that - but what I'm finding is that the more effective Twitter Marketeers are the ones who truly provide value to others and aide in fostering relationships between other Tweeps.

How can you Pay It Forward on Twitter?  Take the time to click through links that people are posting.  They are posting them for a reason - and I believe it to be my responsiblity to look at them (can't read them all, but you get the point).  When you do review them and they are meaningful - take the time to leave a comment to let them know you were there (and leave your Twitter ID) - and then ReTweet it!  That is paying it forward Twitter style - help others promote themselves, and they will more than likely help to promote someone else (maybe even you)!

I was truly humbled by the number of Tweeps that ReTweeted that post!  Thank you to all!

How else do you Pay It Forward on Twitter?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

I will continue to #payitforward and I hope you will too!

Very Sincerely,

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What's That You Tweet?

In recent weeks I've gotten more serious about my relationships on Twitter - who I follow and why.  For whatever reason (and I'm truly humbled), I've gained a few hundred new followers in the past few weeks, and that number continues to grow.

What's daunting to me about that is that I take my followers very seriously because, they chose to follow me for a reason and I sincerely hope I can capture their interest and keep it - chances are they have something to share with me as well.

When I get notification of new followers I don't automatically follow every one - even if it takes a little bit of time, I do check out each and every profile of my followers (now it's taking longer than it used to... but I make the time to do it)  

Here's what I look for when I decide whether 
to follow back or not:  (I'm using @jasontryfon as my example)

Step 1 - Review Twitter Bio - If you can sell me in the short Bio I will follow - generally those who say they are passionate about anything I'll follow.  If the Bio is unique and funny, I'll follow.  If your Bio gives me enough sense of your business goals and they relate to me or my clients, I'll follow.

If your Bio is generally a product pitch - I probably wont follow, unless you pass step 2...

Step 2 - Review Recent Tweets - Your Bio may be blank or just not grab me, but you haven't lost me yet.  I will check out recent tweets to see what you are sharing with the world.  I look for personality, humor, sincerity, industry related info (social media, internet marketing), or information that my clients may find useful.  I also look for ReTweets, and real conversations - not one sided tweets.  (Being a Christian is a plus too.)

Seeing followers in conversation with mutual Twitter friends is always a plus too!

If your recent tweets consist only of "buy this", "great deal on this", "make a million dollars an hour working out of your home" and so on... chances are I will not be following you (sorry)

Still not satisfied after reviewing recent tweets?  The game is not over yet - onto step 3...

Step 3 - Review your Site or Blog - I may have already followed you after steps 1 or 2, process doesn't always hit this point, but I will take the time to check out your blog or website for interesting content.

**  If you are new to Twitter, doesn't mean I wont follow - we all start somewhere.  If you have a Bio and a site link that's relevant I will follow you and will enjoy watching your personality evolve!  **

How I introduce myself?  I will most definatley send you a DM referencing either one of your tweets, your Bio, or your website/blog.  I want you to know that I took the time to learn something about you.  I used @jaysontrfyon as my example here and chose an interesting tidbit to ReTweet.

@jasontryfon has it all going on.  His Bio
 is full of information that is relevant to my industry, his profile background rocks, his tweets are genuine, AND what caught me was on this quote on his background "Jason has gamered his acclaim as a noted customer satisfaction evangelist..."  YES!  Now you are speaking my language!  I let him know that too by Tweeting that little qoute :)

I am big on ReTweeting the good info of others and paying it foward whenever I can. (#payitforward).

So if you are following me and have not heard back from me yet - never fear - I need some time to do the real work!

Why do you follow and how do you introduce yourself?  I'd love to hear!

Like this post?  Please RT!  See yah on Twitter my friends!

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Personal Media - Nah - Social Media Sounds Better

Tonight on Twitter I was reviewing profiles of new connections made throughout the day.  I always check out profiles of those following me, and read their tweets before following them.  I generally try to RT at least one post for each new person that I follow.  I came across this one tonight:

@joelcomm tweets to @GrowMap "Without personal touch, you limit the social in social media" 

And to that I say... 

Really!  SOCIAL Media... Say that again... SOCIAL Media.  Be personal - be social!

I have to say, I'm very much enjoying really digging into Twitter and getting to know some really fabulous people!  Once you engage others in conversation and take a genuine interest in what other people have to say - rather than what you can get out of it - you'll be hooked!

I almost feel bad - I seem to get out of it, more than I feel I give, but at the same time, others are ReTweeting my goodies, and I got some great shout outs today for #followfriday!  It's humbling and so very much appreciated.  I only hope I can give back ten-fold!

I really don't know what I have to offer, but I know that I enjoy chatting with and listening to what others have to share.  I'm finding the more I listen, the more I am heard.  Amazing really.

Your personal touches can go such a long way in Social Media, so long as they are sincere.  Insincerity in social networking is spotted a mile away!  Maybe you do have something to sell on Twitter, and that's okay - but that will come in time if you are passionate about building real relationships - those relationships will build your brand and drive your business.

A few points I struggle with that I have run into in Social Media networks:

-->  You follow me on Twitter, so naturally I want to learn more about you and what makes you tick, and perhaps what I might be able to share with you - but your Tweets are blocked?  How the heck am I supposed to get to know you?

-->  On LinkedIn... You have a public profile on a business networking site, but when I express a sincere interest in networking with you, I'm told "I only accept connection requests from people I've already done business with" - Now to me that defeats the entire purpose of LinkedIn and Social Media.

--> On Facebook...  I send you a friend request because perhaps we work in the same industry, we have a similar interest, or common connections - and am told "I only connect with people I have met face to face".  Again - Facebook with 160,000,000 users... I use FB for personal and for business.  And I purposely do not keep those profiles separate, after all I am a person, so my personality is personal, and I am who I am personally and professionaly and they are the same person!  Make sense?  Why would you NOT want to connect and get know a potential information sharing source?

I understand the privacy thing - but in some regards, and on some networks, it defeats the purpose of SOCIAL MEDIA.

I will continue to remind everyone to #payitforward in all you do (Twitter and beyond)!  Give more than you want to receive and you'll get far more than you ever imagined possible - but BE SINCERE!

Thanks for the inspiration @joelcomm - I truly look forward to following you!  

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why Me? Why You?

In a recent post @dannybrown asked folks to introduce themselves - so I did.  I read his post on Monday, the same day I wrote my "Pay It Forward" post.  One of the questions he asked was about what blog post defines you - Ironically it was the post I wrote that very day.  I live my life on the premise of paying it forward.  If you haven't read it yet - it's a must read!  :)

@ChazAtCaz and I discussed this today in the office as well - it's just too true!  We reap what we sow, I cannot say that enough.

So I ask you this...  Why Me?  Why should you connect with and get to know me?  

Because I care.  Show me that you care and I'll promote the heck out of you.  Show me what you are passionate about and I'll share your passion with everyone I know!

My areas of expertise include internet marketing, project management, web development, living a Christ centered life, parenting (not really an expert, more of a work-in-progress), and am in the process of working my way up in the ranks of the social media arena.  I am passionate about all that I do, and all that I am.

We all have something (lots of things) to learn, and I know that I can learn from you!  What can YOU teach me?  Though there are too many to list, some of my recent "teachers" include @auctiondirect, @dougmcsorley, @markfrisk.  I am always learning from @chazatcaz!  I hope to return that favor one day.  To them I say thanks!  To you I say - thank you in advance!

To build on what Danny did, I say to you - what can we learn from each other?  Please leave me a comment with answers to the following questions:

What are you passionate about?

Who are you favorite Tweeps and why?

What can I share with You?

Where can we connect?   FB, LinkedIn, Twitter, Other?

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Paying it Forward

I have to say, that I generally don't pay attention to TV commercials.  If I am to buy something, it is because a friend recommended it, or I've done the research (more than likely online).  Tonight, this commercial captured my eye...  I watched all 60 seconds of it.

What I love about it is not what they are selling, but the message in general.  I passionately believe that we reap what we sow, and if this commercial is any indication of how Liberty Mutual treats their clients, then it's a product worth having.

A fantastic ad, which should be applied to every business.  I live my life this way, letting the person go in traffic before me, holding the elevator, or pausing for a few seconds to hold the door for someone whos a few steps behind.  These little gestures can go along way, and that chance encounter and the smile you bring someone - will more than likely be shared with someone else, and so on and so on.

Just a few weeks ago I was pumping gas, and this adorable elderly man was cleaning his headlights, windows and windshied at the next pump.  I jokingly said "hey when you're done with yours you can do mine" with a big old smile.  When I came out from paying for my gas, there he was washing my windshield.  He informed me he had not done his good deed for the day.

The world needs more of this!  THAT I am passionate about.  So when you do find yourself a few steps ahead, take the extra 15 seconds to hold the door... And do it with a smile, inside and out.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Internet Marketing Taskmasters

If you are like any of my clients - they tend to get a bit overwhelmed when told what to do!  What I quickly learned upon kicking-off the marketing of a freshly launched (or re-launched) website is that clients often become overwhelmed when they realize the real work is just beginning.

Common misconception:  If you build it they will come... (see previous post - this is not the Field of Dreams!)  

You must work and rework your site, monitor traffic sources, statistics, conversions and about a gazillion other factors to determine where to focus your energies - and then you need to put the time and energy into it - REGULARLY!

When I review a website's marketing plan with a new client - I warn them...  ::: your eyes will glaze over about half way through this, don't be alarmed :::  There is a ton of information and activity surrounding an effective internet marketing plan - and the best type of plan?

A simple plan!  Keep it simple!  I tell my customers they will get no more than 3 tasks at a time from me.  I try to keep the work in small manageable chunks, so when they accomplish a task, they feel great about it.

Not only that, but when you are reviewing website content and updating it, I find it better to do in small chunks to start getting the new web pages indexed while working on others, so you aren't waiting 6 months to promote a whole new website yet again.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Define Your Website With Content

The transition of a website from "build" to "marketing" is always an interesting one.  Very rarely does a new website get launched that is full of keyterm rich content, unique and interesting content, and most importantly... relevant content.  That is not to say it does not happen with much pulling teeth and dragging them along kicking and screaming by our most talented production group here at Cazbah. What is does mean, is that once their site is officially in "internet marketing" mode, it is my job as their Internet Marketing Account Manager to help them to "see the light".

Common misconception:  If we build it... they will come.  This is not the "Field of Dreams" people.

The correct line of thinking is much like the mustard seed - you must plant it, water it and nurture it. Only then can it grow.  Like the farmer who works his field - we we reap what we sow.  If we work the web site and work it well, we can reap the rewards that will follow.

What generally happens?  I am handed an eCommerce website that has very little static content, and product descriptions that leave a lot to be desired.  This is okay because it gives me a baseline to work from - and truth be told, I love starting with a website that has zero ranking in Google and is not converting.  I am passionate about turning that website into a content rich and interesting website, that oh-by-the-way also happens to sell a product.

Don't misunderstand, there is much emphasis placed on optimizing the product pages with well written descriptions and product titles - with the end goal for those products being that they obtain their own ranking in the search engines, and ultimately convert to online sales.

It's the other content I like to focus on.  This is an area you can define an online niche opportunity.  Take a look at your customer's base line keyword ranking - what keyterms are relevant that they are not currently gaining any search engine ranking on?  (This of course assumes you have done your keyterm research and have a set of keywords to focus on.)

Analyze your list of keywords and see which terms are not getting any search engine ranking.  You now know where to start with writing new content for your website.  Build informational content that will educate your site visitors about what you have to offer that is unique and different.  Why should your customers buy online from you?  What makes you better than your online competition?  What makes your online product unique?  What about the service you offer is by far the best?  Help your potential customers make a decision to buy your product or use your service.

Not sure where to start?  Here's a simple tip that I have found works with my clients. Often times I am dealing with VITO of Company "X".  VITO (or Very Important Top Officer) does not have time to write content, and frankly does not see the value of writing "stuff".  "My products are online what more do I need?"  If I can get VITO to write just one piece of content to prove my point, I push them to write a Glossary of Terms for their website.  

Write me a glossary - start with your top ten keywords and build them into an online glossary.  Or take each product and define it.  For example I have a client who sells Air Pollution Abatement Equipment.   Well not everyone on the planet knows what a carbon scrubber is or what it does - and I tell you with no uncertainty that the search engines do not know what they are.   

I emphasize to my clients that they are writing this content more for the search engines then they are for their website visitors.  Now, that said - once the search engines recognize the new content as being relevant, and it is well written, the end result of course would be gaining ranking on some of your additional keywords - thereby helping new and potential customers not only find your website, but LEARN about what you do and/or sell online.

I have proven this to be an effective technique to teaching my clients how important keyword rich website content can be.  Taking some important keyterms that are ranked somewhere below 30 in Google and working them to the first page on Google is proof that your content can define your website.  Once my clients see this online glossary of terms work, they are more than willing to continue writing new content.

Keep track of your keyword search engine ranking on a regular basis.  If you a see keyword begin to lose search engine ranking, or a keyword that is not performing - analyze the content (or lack thereof) associated with that keyword and work it!

That's my story... and I'm sticking to it!  Content.  Content.  Content.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Save A Tree: Advertise Online

With the environment and global warming becoming more and more of an issue, and with recycling - direct mail is becoming a thing of the past.  I have a customer, who just last year spent $10k during 2008 for 4 direct mail campaigns (total cost for the year).

Let's break that down  - $2,500 per Quarter - roughly 50,000 pieces mailed each quarter, and out of each mailing he probably generated 20 leads, maybe 10 of those turned into qualified leads, and a portion of those maybe then converted to a sale.  

The widget he sells ranges in price from $3,500 on up to over $10,000.  When he signed on with Cazbah he was still running these direct mail campaigns, and didn't really think twice about continuing them.  As his new site was built and launched, he moved over to my care and control where I quickly learned what his spend was on direct mail.

When I refer to direct mail - this particular product is the cellophane wrapped postcards that come in packs.  I personally don't believe I have ever opened one of those mailers that has come to my home, they have all ended up in the trash.  

Well my line of thinking is this... let's first save a tree by not doing the mailer, less garbage, less recycling... and second, let's save the customer bunches of money that can be put back into his business, and spend a small fraction of that $10,000 and generate more qualified leads on a monthly basis.

Challenge:  Convince said customer that spending $300 a month on something like Google AdWords can generate more qualified leads, then the plastic-wrap mailer you've been doing for years!  People are resistant to change... (But just how many trees is that?).  After much discussion - customer agrees to commence with AdWords for a trial period of one month at a $10/day budget and very targeted ads featuring his product at a low monthly lease price.

Said customer promised to do just one more mailer with direct mail company (against my recommendation) and when I heard of it, said - okay if you are going to mail - push the web site and invite recipients to sign up for email updates and promotions - the mailer went out without that info. So there's $2,500 (or almost a YEAR'S worth of AdWords out the window).

30 days and $300 later - we generated roughly 25-30 QUALIFIED leads, and client received an influx of contact requests through the web site.

Let's compare:  

12 Months - Direct Mail - 50,000 Pieces Per Mailer - $10,000 - Annual Leads Generated = Approx. 80.  (40 Qualified Leads).

12 Months - AdWords - Annual Spend roughly $3,600 - Annual Leads Generated = 360 Qualified Leads.

I would even venture to guess that after further optimization of the AdWords campaign through use of negative keyterms, and other techniques, the number of qualified leads would increase gradually.

Add to this, from the leads generated through sponsored search advertising (or pay per click), an email captured for each lead.  On the leads that do not generate an immediate
sale, you have now fostered a relationship by which you can communicate future promotions and product features via email campaigns.

Consider email marketing and news updates to your subscriber base and or customers rather than mailing them promotions - you'll reach a greater audience, and by sending to an "opt-in" list - you already know you are sending to a receptive audience.  It can take some time to build an email list, but there are ways to get the word out.

What's the punchline?  Spend your advertising dollars in a way that will maximize your return, and   in this age of social media and online awareness.  Save a Tree!  Save Money!

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Passionate Women Who Thrive

I recently decided to spend the first 30 minutes of each work day doing some online networking.  One day I might spend time in LinkedIn, the next day searching out new possible friends on Facebook or Tweeting, but the bottom line is I want to continually look for new people I can connect with - not just because we both like artichokes, but perhaps because we are both in the same LinkedIn Groups, or share common networking goals.

One of my goals is to share my passionate attitude about just about everything in life with everyone I come in contact with - the reason I started this blog in the first place.  

This week I was fortunate enough to come across a woman on Twitter who was following me, and upon checking out her info found that we share a common goal.  @karolynhart is the new connection I speak of and her passion is to connect women on beauty, health, life, careers, parenting, relationships and everything in between.

I was immediately drawn to her site, just by the address - what a fabulous URL! 

The definition of Thrive is "to grow strongly and vigorously" - something I aspire to do both through my relationship with God, and through my career.  One of the ways I hope to do this in my career is by connecting with other passionate and powerful professional women. (Nice alliteration!)

This quote is posted on as the 'favorite quote' and I can see why:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed it's the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead 

It reminds me that everyone has something to say, and something to contribute.  Pay attention to your connections, and pursue your passions.  I am very excited about participating in this online community and building new relationships with other professional women who Thrive!

Do you Live With Thrive?

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Using Social Media to get IKEA's Attention

I would definitely LOVE to have an IKEA Store in Western, NY. Rochester would be great, but I would settle for Buffalo as well or somewhere in between.  

Currently the closest IKEA store is in Hamilton, Ontario - which is a few hours drive, accross the border and somewhat a pain in the neck.  When I go to IKEA in Canada, it is an all day trip to get across the border both ways, add in the driving distance, and of course the gas expense (especially now) and the time required to browse at an IKEA store.  Something I have complained about for years - every trip taken to IKEA requires much advanced planning...

A co-worker (@fuyukogratton) of mine has a passion for IKEA, and to that end created a blog and online petition in April of 2008 to try to gain signatures and capture the attention of IKEA so they would pity us and build a store in our area.  This online petition currently has 119 signatures (I was 118), and I have been spreading the word about this through my online social activities and face-to-face.

Time to put my creative social media energies to work to raise more awareness - so I have yet another place to shop in Upstate New York.  I love IKEA!

I sense another social media experiment coming on...  If I can find 300+ artichoke lovers in just a few short weeks, I should be able to connect with IKEA lovers out there to help my friend with her blog and petition!

Take a second to sign Fuyuko's petition!  We thank you, and Western New York will thank you!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Speed Dating For Social Media Lovers

Speed Dating - Not just for dating anymore...  This is something I am most interested in (Not dating that is...) but rather speed networking.  

Imagine an event your city or neighboring town.  You show up with a pocketful of business cards and your 1-3 minutes "about me" pitch.  If 50 people show up, the actual "meet" of the event could take roughly 2 hours, with some group networking before and after.

In one minute I could easily tell you in broad strokes about myself and what my passions are related to my career and networking goals.  I venture to guess, most people can do the same in a minute or less.  If I made 50 new connections in 2 hours I would be thrilled - no matter the industry you come from.  We can benefit from each other because everyone has different areas of expertise and though your area may be something like pizza ovens, used cars, or even restoration firearms - there is more than likely a chance that you have something of worth that I can apply to my business, and I to you as well.

I attended a local Twestival event last week and met a few folks there that seemed perhaps "not related" to what I do, but walking away from that and realizing what those have to offer whether it's blog expertise, or a specific benefit they can provide to me and/or my clients - each and every network connection is a win-win.   

I would welcome the opportunity to attend such an event where I could gather up a large group of connections in a short period of time, and have tidbits of information about each to take away - rather than a shake hands "hello nice to meet you".  

And here's my fun tip for how to remember a person's name... People think I'm silly for doing this, but at church on Friday's nights I tend to meet a few new people each week.  When I meet them I chat for a bit, and before I excuse myself I look at them while shaking their hand and say their name 6 times outloud.  Yes - it appears silly, but it certainly works for me!  What's your tip to remember names and other useful information about new connections?

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